Posted by Josie
Two weeks ago my mom wrote about me having cruciate ligament surgery on my back left leg. It’s basically knee surgery. The first few days I was pretty miserable. I didn’t want to move. My leg would hurt until my parents gave me some pain medication. Now, it’s been about a month later and I’m happy to report I’m recovering well. My cast is now off and I am slowly walking on my leg with supervision. I’m really not supposed to walk on the leg for eight weeks, but keeping a pup still is nearly impossible. There is one thing that happens twice daily that does keep me still: physical therapy. It can hurt!
For the next ten weeks I am being forced to move my knee. My veterinarian gave my parents a list of ten things they need to do to get my knee back to normal. The surgeon said that “less physical therapy will mean a longer recovery time and overly aggressive physical therapy may result in the failure of the surgery.” So they need to get it right.
My dad is my primary therapist and we started the exercises about a week after the surgery. He started by getting a frozen bag of peas and putting it on my knee for a few minutes, before he gripped my foot and slowly and gently pushed up my foot into the flexion of my joints. After that, he would slowly pull my foot down back into the full extension of all my joints. We repeated this five times each session. Dad always ended the session with putting the bag of peas back on my leg to ease the pain. They were supposed to do this five times a day.. but generally they did it twice a day. Weekends they did it more since they were off work.
We did those exercises for a week and now for the next five weeks we’re doing the same thing, but they have to hold my leg in the two positions for five seconds and do repetitions of ten each session. It’s getting easier and easier each time they do it. They also started using a warm pack on my knee before they start and then the frozen peas at the end so I’m always comfortable. To show you what these exercises look like, I thought a Youtube video with a veterinary professional doing it would be best.
Each exercise builds on the week before and will help my leg get stronger and stronger. In upcoming weeks, I will have to have a skin massage around the affected area and then ultimately do sit and stand exercises and practice walking up hills.
Veterinarians also recommend controlled swimming as a wonderful way to rehabilitate your pet. Mommy would love to try that, but there is nowhere within an hour of where I live to do that. On top of that, my pet insurance just declined my claim for this surgery so my expenses are pretty high (another blog post coming on that topic). My dad is doing a pretty good job doing my physical therapy so for now he will just have to do.
Since I really can’t move, I also haven’t been able to go to doggy daycare. I miss all my canine buddies, but my parents don’t want to take the risk of something happening to my recovering leg. So for now, I am going to have a good attitude about my therapy sessions. The sooner I can get through all this stuff and get my leg back to normal, the sooner I can see all my dog friends. I can’t wait! That will be so Whisker Fabulous.